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DEATH OF A SALESMAN Reviews

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LimelightMike
Broadway Legend
joined:6/21/06
DEATH OF A SALESMAN Reviews
Posted: 3/15/12 at 03:00am
Today is Thursday, March 15, marking the official opening night performance of the Broadway revival of Arthur Miller's Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning American tragedy Death of a Salesman, with Philip Seymour Hoffman as Willy Loman, following previews that began February 13 at the Ethel Barrymore. Directed by Mike Nichols, the production is playing a strictly limited 16-week engagement.

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Leading Actor
joined:3/26/10
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bjh2114
Broadway Legend
joined:4/19/06
DEATH OF A SALESMAN Reviews
Posted: 3/15/12 at 07:33pm
Backstage is mixed to positive with not so kind words for Garfield:

"There’s plenty to recommend this “Salesman,” not least of which is Miller’s titanic play. But without a dramatically equal Biff to lock horns with, Hoffman (and Nichols) can’t quite generate the sense of tragedy a great Willy can evoke in an audience, resulting in a “Salesman” that’s intellectually moving but not emotionally shattering."

http://www.backstage.com/bso/reviews-ny-theatre-broadway/ny-review-death-of-a-salesman-1006478352.story
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bjh2114
Broadway Legend
joined:4/19/06
DEATH OF A SALESMAN Reviews
Posted: 3/15/12 at 07:34pm
I wouldn't call the LA Times review mixed. I'd call it negative except for the praise for Garfield.

Updated On: 3/15/12 at 07:34 PM
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thetinymagic2
Broadway Legend
joined:8/12/07
DEATH OF A SALESMAN Reviews
Posted: 3/15/12 at 08:52pm
Having seen the play 2 wks ago..I hardly ever read reviews. This time, I'm a bit interested in the many, many layers of DOAS. This quote from the very well written LA Times I particularly resonate with - (I felt the EXACT same way about this scene, but could not really articulate my emotion so well)

"Garfield, in one of the most emotionally naked performances I’ve ever witnessed in the theater, lets us see the crippling weight of Willy’s overblown expectations. This young man becomes the play’s protagonist in a kind of Oedipal stage reversal that is thrilling to behold. The hotel scene, in which Biff discovers the truth about his father’s character, is shattering. (Garfield collapses onstage in the convulsive sobs of a teenager unable to accept that his parent is a fraud.) And when in Biff’s final confrontation with his father, Garfield screams, “Pop! I’m a dime a dozen, and so are you!,” the words emerge like shards of glass that have been extracted from scar tissue without anesthetic.

Nichols’ painfully timely “Death of a Salesman” may have too many flaws to be one for the ages, but Garfield has made it one that I’ll remember for as long as I live"

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bjh2114
Broadway Legend
joined:4/19/06
DEATH OF A SALESMAN Reviews
Posted: 3/15/12 at 09:03pm
The Chicago Tribune is mixed to negative and for me hits the nail on the head with this:

"But we don't see a tragedy of a common man with representative magnitude. On the contrary, Hoffman and Nichols paint a picture of an unusual fellow who could go off half-cocked at any moment. The cumulative effect is one of interest but remove.

That would be more viable if Nichols were offering, overall, a revisionist take on this play with fresh theatrical rhythms and energies. But unlike, say, Robert Falls' Goodman Theatre-and-Broadway revival in 1999, which reconceived the play physically and formatively, Nichols' traditional production proudly uses a re-creation of the classic Jo Mielziner design, which inherently draws the production in more traditional physical patterns.

The veteran director has said Mielziner's work was so integral to the original creation of the script, it is really part of the play. It is, of course, a famously beautiful and adroit piece of stagecraft, so one sees Nichols' point.

But design, like all aesthetic elements, morphs with time. One can re-create the set but not what it had to say back in that time and place."


http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/theater/theaterloop/ct-ent-0316-death-salesman-broadway-review-20120315,0,2169632.column
Updated On: 3/15/12 at 09:03 PM
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bjh2114
Broadway Legend
joined:4/19/06
DEATH OF A SALESMAN Reviews
Posted: 3/15/12 at 09:07pm
Variety is positive:

"It's a bit of a mystery why Nichols chose to cast the lithe and slender Garfield in a role that seems to call for more brute strength than athletic grace. The thesp is far better suited to his upcoming movie role as the new Peter Parker in "The Amazing Spider-Man," and the physical incongruity is disconcerting enough to put him at a disadvantage initially. But by the end of the first act, the actor is holding his own, and when Biff finally spurns his father's false values and asserts his own ideals, Garfield claims the moment and scores big-time."

http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117947249

As I expected, this production seems like it's going to be super divisive among the critics. Linda Emond is really not getting the out and out raves that I was expecting for her, though.
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bjh2114
Broadway Legend
joined:4/19/06
DEATH OF A SALESMAN Reviews
Posted: 3/15/12 at 09:10pm
The AP is positive:

"Garfield as Biff starts out a little too wise-guy-Brooklyn-boy but has locked in by the end and is breathtaking in his sobbing, self-hating commitment. Wittrock's Happy is a pretty good ladies man but looks too shellshocked much of the time.

Hoffman will deservedly get attention for playing one of the most iconic American stage roles with vigor, but this production gets its heart and soul from Loman's wife, played with ferocious love by Linda Emond. She is holding this family together with her nails, watching her husband fall apart, taking his abuse, soaring with his hopes, playing interference between him and her sons, and generally walking on eggshells."


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20120315/us-theater-review-death-of-a-salesman/

Updated On: 3/15/12 at 09:10 PM
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bjh2114
Broadway Legend
joined:4/19/06
DEATH OF A SALESMAN Reviews
Posted: 3/15/12 at 09:12pm
Newsday is positive with a twist:

"Let's get this out of the way at the top. Philip Seymour Hoffman is too young and soft to be the standard-issue iconic Willy Loman chiseled on the Mount Rushmore of American drama. Andrew Garfield seems too delicate and sensitive to be the Biff we know as the curdled former high-school quarterback and big Willy's golden-boy son."

http://www.newsday.com/entertainment/theater/death-of-a-salesman-still-packs-a-punch-1.3602868
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bjh2114
Broadway Legend
joined:4/19/06
DEATH OF A SALESMAN Reviews
Posted: 3/15/12 at 10:29pm
The Times (Brantley) is mixed to negative:

"Such emotional distance sprang, for me at least, from a feeling of disconnection between the leading actors (all, I would argue, miscast) and their characters. The three names above the title for this production all belong to people whose work I have greatly admired: Mr. Hoffman, as Willy, the Brooklyn salesman; Linda Emond as Linda, his protective wife; and Andrew Garfield as Biff, their 34-year-old son, an athletic hero in high school who has never found his place in life.

Mr. Hoffman, Ms. Emond and Mr. Garfield all bring exacting intelligence and intensity to their performances. They make thought visible, but it’s the thought of actors making choices rather than of characters living in the moment. Their reading of certain lines makes you hear classic dialogue anew but with intellectual annotations. It’s as if they were docents showing us through Loman House, now listed on the Literary Register of Historic Places."


http://theater.nytimes.com/2012/03/16/theater/reviews/death-of-a-salesman-with-philip-seymour-hoffman.html
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bjh2114
Broadway Legend
joined:4/19/06
DEATH OF A SALESMAN Reviews
Posted: 3/15/12 at 10:34pm
USA Today is a rave (4 out of 4 stars):

"Garfield vividly traces Biff's evolution from a confident, charismatic teenager to a man crippled by his father's expectations and mistakes. The U.K.-bred actor's body language, spry and vigorous in youthful scenes, slackens; even his canny New York accent sharpens, as a local's might, in excitement or under duress.

Linda Emond plays Willy's long-suffering wife, Linda, with exquisite grace, reaffirming her position at the play's moral center. Conversely, Finn Wittrock nails the upbeat spinelessness of the Lomans' younger son, Happy, whose second-fiddle status is a source of savvy comic relief.

A dynamic John Glover is ideally cast as Ben, the late brother whose self-assurance literally haunts Willy, while Bill Camp lends unsentimental poignance as the Lomans' sympathetic neighbor, Charley. All the performances are at once authentic and timeless, much like Jo Mielziner's abstract set design and Alex North's haunting incidental music, both restored from 1949's original staging.

In short, this is both a play and a production for the ages, and not to be missed."


http://www.usatoday.com/life/theater/reviews/story/2012-03-15/death-of-a-salesman/53555044/1
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bjh2114
Broadway Legend
joined:4/19/06
DEATH OF A SALESMAN Reviews
Posted: 3/15/12 at 10:36pm
Entertainment Weekly is positive (grade A):

"This is no Madame Tussauds period piece, though. Nichols coaxes memorable performances from every actor — beginning with Philip Seymour Hoffman. Though he's only 44, Hoffman brings a stooped-shoulder weariness to this 60-year-old striver that is utterly convincing. As his wife, Linda Emond reveals a woman long consigned to second-fiddle status in her home despite her deep love for her husband. Andrew Garfield, nailing a Brooklyn accent, makes ex-jock Biff appropriately insecure. And Finn Wittrock finds new depths in philandering, attention-starved younger son Happy. This is the rare production with an enviably deep bench: Even seemingly throwaway roles like Loman's boss (Remy Auberjonois) and his paramour on the road (Molly Price) make an indelible impression.

While this Salesman owes much to tradition, it pulses with energy and urgency. And with its implicit messages about the plight of the middle class, the dangers of false pride, and the valorization of superficial popularity at the expense of achievement, Miller's play has seldom seemed so vital. A"


http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20364394_20578450,00.html
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bjh2114
Broadway Legend
joined:4/19/06
DEATH OF A SALESMAN Reviews
Posted: 3/15/12 at 10:38pm
Wall Street Journal is positive:

"The genius of Mr. Nichols's unostentatiously right staging of "Death of a Salesman" is that each part of it is in harmony with Mr. Hoffman's plain, blunt acting. Like his star—and the rest of his perfectly chosen cast—Mr. Nichols has disappeared into the play itself. The result is a production that will be remembered by all who see it as the capstone of a career.

Linda Emond, who plays Willy's weary but loyal wife, isn't as famous as Mr. Hoffman, but she's just as good, maybe even better. Here as in Tony Kushner's "Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures," in which she appeared last spring, everything that Ms. Emond does and says is starkly true to life. The only reason why she doesn't stand out more decisively is that much the same thing could be said of the other members of the cast, in particular Andrew Garfield as Biff Loman and Bill Camp as Charley, Willy's best friend. To praise one is to disserve the rest: All are as real as a cup of grocery-store coffee served in a chipped mug."


http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304692804577281333864897356.html
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bjh2114
Broadway Legend
joined:4/19/06
DEATH OF A SALESMAN Reviews
Posted: 3/15/12 at 10:40pm
Bloomberg is a rave (4 out of 4 stars):

"It’s uncommonly rare to watch a revival and suddenly attune yourself to the sound of weeping around you, the shaking of your hand as you take notes and, most important, to recognize that what you’re feeling must be very much like what audiences must have felt at the opening of a great new drama.

But that’s what I felt at the critics’ preview of Mike Nichols’s magnificent revival of Arthur Miller’s 1949 epilogue for the American Dream, “Death of a Salesman.”

Bucking the revisionist trend, Nichols uses Jo Mielziner’s original, skeletal set and Alex North’s hauntingly beautiful, quietly sinuous underscoring to set the tone for this most respectful production."


http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-03-16/philip-seymour-hoffman-leads-great-salesman-revival.html
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bjh2114
Broadway Legend
joined:4/19/06
DEATH OF A SALESMAN Reviews
Posted: 3/15/12 at 10:42pm
Philadelphia Inquirer is positive:

"Loman is the play's primary character, but what makes this production so powerful is the way Nichols draws clear characters from everyone - even the waiters in a late scene seem to have back-stories hidden somewhere in their portrayals. The formidable Linda Emond is Willy's long-suffering but constantly loving wife; the terrific Andrew Garfield is the older son Biff, whose tangled relationship with his dad is molded to his own personal failures; Finn Wittrock is the younger and much-ignored son, Happy. John Glover plays Willy's brother who's made a killing in Africa and Alaska, and Fran Kranz, is the next-door neighbor kid. Franz takes a small role that's sometimes played as a simple accessory and makes it his."

http://www.philly.com/philly/entertainment/20120315_Broadway_review_Death_of_a_Salesman.html
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bjh2114
Broadway Legend
joined:4/19/06
DEATH OF A SALESMAN Reviews
Posted: 3/15/12 at 10:45pm
Theatermania is positive:

"The place to start the praise is with Philip Seymour Hoffman, who gives an award-worthy performance of infinite depth and breadth as Willy Loman, the titular salesman who has devoted an exhausting 34-year career to charming buyers on the Northeast circuit so he can instill the American dream in his sons Biff (Andrew Garfield) and Happy (Finn Wittrock), while long-suffering wife Linda (Linda Emond) lingers deferentially.

From Hoffman's droop-shouldered entrance through his rages against his sons' moody reactions to him and his alternating affection for and dismissal of his wife, he's constantly mercurial. His flashes of triumph when he's kidding himself about the unmoored Biff's prospects and the pangs of disappointment when confronted with realities he refuses to face add up to a sublime actor's compendium of techniques."


http://www.theatermania.com/broadway/reviews/03-2012/death-of-a-salesman_52450.html
Owen22
Broadway Legend
joined:2/24/11
DEATH OF A SALESMAN Reviews
Posted: 3/15/12 at 11:54pm
Even though I loved this version, more than Dustin's or Brian's, something told me Brantley wouldn't like it... I'm glad the positive reviews seem to be outweighing the mixed and negatives. I found this "Death" amazingly moving and the actors (save Garfield) close to perfection.
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SondheimFan5
Broadway Legend
joined:6/20/10
DEATH OF A SALESMAN Reviews
Posted: 3/16/12 at 12:10am
This is the definition of across-the-board MIXED.
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themysteriousgrowl
Broadway Legend
joined:11/10/10
DEATH OF A SALESMAN Reviews
Posted: 3/16/12 at 08:01am

^lolwut? I'm counting 2 mixed, 2 negative, and 10 positive (including 2 raves)
CHURCH DOOR TOUCAN GAY MARKETING PUPPIES MUSICAL THEATER STAPLES PERIOD CUM OIL
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bjh2114
Broadway Legend
joined:4/19/06
DEATH OF A SALESMAN Reviews
Posted: 3/16/12 at 08:41am
Yah, this is not nearly as close to mixed as I expected.
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themysteriousgrowl
Broadway Legend
joined:11/10/10
DEATH OF A SALESMAN Reviews
Posted: 3/16/12 at 09:02am

Agreed, bjh. It's surprising, given how polarized the online reaction has been in the preview period. At any rate, I absolutely adore Miller, Hoffman, and Nichols, and I'm more excited than ever now to see this next weekend!

So, the count is 2 negative, 3 mixed, and 15 positive (including 4 raves).

That's very encouraging.
CHURCH DOOR TOUCAN GAY MARKETING PUPPIES MUSICAL THEATER STAPLES PERIOD CUM OIL
Owen22
Broadway Legend
joined:2/24/11
DEATH OF A SALESMAN Reviews
Posted: 3/16/12 at 11:31am
an unfortunate simile from Bentley's review:

"Mr. Hoffman’s Willy is preshrunk."
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themysteriousgrowl
Broadway Legend
joined:11/10/10
DEATH OF A SALESMAN Reviews
Posted: 3/16/12 at 11:38am

LOL <3 <3 great catch <3 <3
CHURCH DOOR TOUCAN GAY MARKETING PUPPIES MUSICAL THEATER STAPLES PERIOD CUM OIL
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Smaxie
Broadway Legend
joined:9/26/05
DEATH OF A SALESMAN Reviews
Posted: 3/16/12 at 01:23pm
Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end: then stop.

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